A year of COVID-19 restrictions resulted in decreased traffic, yet cyclist injuries and fatalities continue to climb. The correlation between the two has researchers taking a closer look at why less traffic relates to increased harm for cyclists. These vulnerable road users are prone to serious harm due to life-altering injuries and possible death due to a lack of protection. If your bicycle ride or that of a loved one turned tragic due to a reckless driver, you may want to contact a bicycle accident lawyer for a free case evaluation.
Dangerous Drivers Amid a National Health Crisis
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) produced a comprehensive report regarding accident trends during the end of 2019 and first half of the pandemic in 2020. Lock-downs, work-from-home orders, closed businesses, and more resulted in many empty streets. The streets proved all too tempting for drivers who took risks while denying government orders.
According to the NHTSA, risky drivers viewed the wide-open, empty streets as an opportunity to engage in dangerous actions behind the wheel. Drivers took risks that placed vulnerable road users, like cyclists in danger, at risk of serious injury due to behaviors such as speeding and driving under the influence.
Speeding Drivers and COVID-19
While traffic was down 41 percent nationwide, average speeds increased by as much as 250 percent during the past year. Speeds above 80 miles an hour along highways and city streets placed bicyclists at risk for catastrophic injuries and possible death.
Additionally, drag racing and other risky behaviors increased during the pandemic. The open roads and streets were too inviting to drivers seeking excitement behind the wheel. This excitement had serious and sometimes deadly results for innocent bicyclists enjoying a ride.
Driving Under the Influence (DUI) and COVID-19
Additional data from the NHTSA shows the impact of drivers under the influence of drugs on vulnerable road users.
A four-month study of data from five trauma centers discovered that approximately two-thirds of drivers tested positive for at least one active drug, including:
The NHTSA data demonstrates the power of one dangerous driver to change forever—or to end—a bicyclist’s life. Drivers who choose to speed or to drive under the influence are reckless and negligent. Liability and responsibility for the damages you incur due to serious injury or the death of a loved one should lie with the risk-taking driver and not you.
Your Bicycle Accident Injuries
A bicycle provides no protection when struck by a car or truck. The impact can send the rider onto the pavement, resulting in multiple injuries.
This list includes a some of common bicycle accident injuries:
- Broken bones: There is no quick fix of severely broken bones, only a long recovery.
- Internal injuries: An internal injury is a serious matter due to limited or no external signs of harm.
- Traumatic brain injury: A severe brain injury can disrupt normal brain function and change your loved one forever.
- Spinal cord injury: Home modifications and other adjustments for a spinal cord injury are extensive and expensive.
- Road rash: A serious skin abrasion is painful and can become infected if left untreated.
An especially tragic bicycle accident can result in one or more of these types of injuries or other injuries. If you suffered serious harm due to a driver who ignored traffic laws, a lawyer can help you pursue justice. No one should experience life-changing injuries that result in physical, emotional, and financial harm due to another person seeking a joyride.
How a Lawyer Could Help You
The national health crisis is difficult for everyone. The past year of limited activities and the fear of contracting the virus led many people to stay home. Some individuals who chose to venture out took additional risks by carelessly operating their vehicle.
A bicycle ride to exercise or relief stress during the COVID-19 crises should not result in serious injuries or death. Bicyclists have the same rights and responsibilities as motorists. When a motorist fails to obey traffic laws, they should face responsibility for their careless actions and your damages.
A bicycle accident lawyer can assist you by managing your case while you recover. The legal details of a bicycle accident claim and lawsuit are important and require skill and experience.
Bicycle accident lawyers negotiate with insurance companies to settle out of court. It is not uncommon for a bicycle accident case to settle without going to trial. Insurance companies know that most lawyers stand ready and willing to take cases to trial if necessary. Settling out of court can save everyone time and money when it comes to trying civil a case in court.
If the negotiation process fails to produce a fair settlement agreement, your lawyer may proceed to trial. Taking your case into a courtroom and before a jury requires a set of skills that a bicycle accident lawyer can provide.
There is no guarantee of compensation for your bicycle injuries; however, fighting for compensation is your right under the law. Hiring a lawyer can protect you against settling for less than you deserve. It can also reduce your stress because now you can refer aggressive insurance adjusters to your lawyer and instead of communicating with them yourself.
Why Fair Compensation Matters
Insurance companies may make you an offer to settle before you contact an attorney.
You have three key risks when negotiating with an insurance company alone:
- You may settle for too low a sum and not have the funds necessary for your future medical needs.
- Accepting an initial settlement offer closes your claim, leaving you no further options for additional compensation later.
- Negotiating with insurance companies alone can be stressful without the help of a lawyer.
Medical care is expensive, and costs continue to rise. A bicyclist who experiences a traumatic brain injury or other severe injury may develop further complications that make in-home care impossible.
A skilled nursing facility may provide the only choice for you or your loved one’s care. Paying for such care is difficult for most, as it averages more than $8,000 a month. This cost is astronomical and suffocating for families who want what is best for their loved ones.
The compensation you accept today can greatly affect your tomorrow. A bicycle accident lawyer understands how insurance companies operate when it comes to claims involving serious injuries. Your lawyer can stand by you and fight on your behalf for the best possible outcome of your civil case.
Wrongful Death and Negligence
If you lost a loved one in a bicycle accident caused by a negligent driver, a wrongful death lawyer can help you. Your close relationship with the decedent is an important factor in determining if you qualify to pursue a claim and lawsuit.
The emotional stress of a permanent loss is difficult enough. A wrongful death lawyer can investigate the accident that resulted in your loved one’s death. They can then identify the liable party and move forward with a civil action.
No amount of money can replace your loved one, yet the expenses associated with their death are genuine. Paying funeral and burial costs are expenses for which most people are not prepared.
Wrongful death damages may also include damages such as lost earnings and loss of companionship. Recoverable damages include both economic and non-economic damages.
Economic damages include documented expenses like medical expenses or funeral costs. The funeral bill outlines the direct costs associated with your loved one’s care. On the other hand, non-economic damages include the priceless value of love and companionship your loved one provided.
A wrongful death lawyer can protect your best interests during a time of mourning and remove the stress of communicating with an insurance adjuster. The shock of your loved one’s death may leave you overwhelmed and in no condition to speak with an insurance company.
Bicycle Accidents and COVID-19 Drivers
An open highway or city street is no excuse for placing others at risk for serious harm. The pandemic that continues to affect the nation is stressful enough without experiencing bicycle injuries due to negligence.
One risky driver places you at risk for suffering life-changing injuries, and that is unfair. Your injuries may end your career, affect your relationships, and result in more medical bills than you can pay.
A bicycle accident or wrongful death lawyer typically provides a free case evaluation. The evaluation can help you learn more about your options for moving forward with a possible claim and lawsuit.
In addition to free case evaluations, most bicycle accident and wrongful death lawyers work on a contingency fee basis. This means attorneys do not collect their fees unless they secure compensation for you.
Bicycle accident lawyers help accident victims by providing necessary representation. If a careless driver is responsible for your bicycle accident injuries, consider contacting a lawyer for help. You do not have to fight for compensation alone.
Why You Must Act Quickly to Pursue Compensation
Time is important when it comes to pursuing legal action. The statute of limitations sets a specific timeframe for filing a civil lawsuit. If you do not file your bicycle accident or wrongful death case by the required deadline, there is no second chance.
An expired statute of limitations for pursuing compensation leaves you no legal options. A bicycle accident or wrongful death attorney can ensure to file your lawsuit on time. While the time for filing a case is short, preparing your case for negotiations and trial takes time.
Contact an attorney as soon as possible following your accident. This is an important step toward fighting for your compensation and justice.
The attorney you hire should keep you informed as your case progresses. Consistent communication along with timely updates can assure you that your case is in good hands.
Consider Seeking Justice Today
A bicycle ride—either for fun, exercise, or to commute—should not result in serious harm due to a driver’s reckless actions. Pandemic rules and restrictions were in place for a reason. Those who took chances and harmed others must face accountability.
Serious injuries can leave you feeling panicked about your finances and concerned about your future. A bicycle accident lawyer understands this and can help guide you through your case. Nobody can predict the outcome of your case, but not securing legal protection can leave you with little or no compensation.
The aftermath of a serious bicycle accident is a time of great confusion. Doctor appointments and medical procedures can consume your day. Before you know it, the window of opportunity for filing your bicycle accident or wrongful death case closes.
A civil action is possible during COVID-19. Lawyers stand ready to get to work on behalf of injured individuals or grieving families. Their commitment to their clients is unwavering as the nation continues to journey through the pandemic.
Everyone owes a duty of care when it comes to how we navigate with COVID-19. If a dangerous driver forever altered your life or their actions resulted in the death of a loved one, contact a bicycle accident lawyer at Gomez Trial Attorneys for your free case evaluation today.
COVID-19 rules and restrictions, while sometimes difficult and frustrating, existed to protect everyone from the virus and stop the spread. The restrictions were not an open invitation to drag race or to operate a vehicle under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
You have nothing to lose by contacting a bicycle accident law office to discuss your case. Most firms offer an online form as a contact option and provide service even after regular business hours. Riding a bicycle during a pandemic should reduce your stress—not result in new stress, serious injuries, or the death of a loved one. If your situation falls into one of these categories, consider contacting an attorney at Gomez Trial Attorneys today.